Washington, D.C. – A bipartisan provision led by U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly that would help improve the timeliness and predictability of permitting for some infrastructure projects passed the Senate today and now heads to President Trump’s desk. The provision, which Donnelly introduced as standalone legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) in March, was included as part of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act. It would permanently authorize a program to allow for dedicated funding for review of permit applications with the Army Corps of Engineers for public utility infrastructure projects.
Donnelly said, “Every American knows that our country’s infrastructure is in dire need of repair. This bipartisan provision would help improve the permitting process for these projects – without undermining safety or costing taxpayers money. I was proud to work with Senator Portman to introduce it earlier this year and I’m looking forward to President Trump signing it into law in the coming days.”
Under current law, public utilities, natural gas companies, and railroads can provide financing for permitting reviews to potentially speed up the process, however, the authorization for that financing mechanism is scheduled to expire in 2024. The Donnelly-Portman provision will permanently extend this authorization.
Other Hoosier priorities secured by Donnelly in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act included the following:
- Investments in the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund are nearly doubled to $1.95 billion by 2021, providing needed investments in communities across the state;
- Expands the lead in schools testing program to assist schools in their efforts to reduce lead contamination, including the replacement of drinking water fountains;
- Authorizes $550 million for sewer overflow control grants, which are needed by Hoosier communities, both large and small, in every part of the state;
- Directs the Army Corps to use its existing authorities to remedy the erosion issues on the Ohio River near Clarksville;
- Updates the authorizations for the control of invasive species like Asian carp at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam and for needed upgrades at the Soo Locks, which are vital to the flow of commerce in the Great Lakes.